Towards a Sustainable Food System Entrepreneurship, Resilience and Agriculture in the Baltic Sea Region
Sammanfattning: This thesis compares conventional agriculture and Ecological Recycling Agriculture (ERA) in terms of their environmental and socio-economic effects. Environmental effects include greenhouse gas emissions and energy use, but this analysis focuses on nutrient losses. Socio-economic effects include production, costs and benefits at macro, firm and household level. Comparisons were made at regional (Baltic Sea), national (Swedish) and local (community/municipality) level. At regional level, the main challenge is to make agriculture more environmentally friendly and reduce nutrient losses, while maintaining food production. At national level, the challenges are to shift the product mix towards more vegetables and less meat and to address the geographical division between animal and crop production. At local level, the challenge is to achieve sustainable environmental, economic and social rural development. At regional level, the empirical findings were scaled up to create three scenarios. In one scenario, agriculture in Poland and the Baltic States was transformed to resemble the Swedish average structure and resource use, which gave increased nitrogen and phosphorus surplus and substantially increased food production. Two other scenarios in which agriculture in the entire Baltic Sea area converted to ERA gave reductions in nitrogen surplus and eliminated the phosphorus surplus, while food production decreased or remained stable, depending on the strategy chosen. At national level, the environmental effects of different production methods, transport and different food baskets were compared. A household survey was performed to construct an alternative food basket, which was high in vegetables, low in meat and high in locally produced organic food compared with the average Swedish food profile. It was also 24% more expensive. Food basket content was found to be as important as production method in reducing environmental effects. Local production and processing was less important. At local level, an importer and wholesaler of organic fruit and vegetables and a group of environmentally concerned consumers were studied. The business was found to be resilient, i.e. well-suited to adapt to turbulence, and with a history of being innovative.
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